Event Archives
DEEJOn Screen/In Person Film Series


September 12, 2017  ·  Bruce Montgomery Theatre

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Directed by Robert Rooy
Words by David James Savarese
Produced by Robert Rooy and David James Savarese
Executive Producers Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher
Co-Producer Anne de Mare
Director of Animation Em Cooper

Abandoned by his birth parents and unable to speak for himself, DJ Savarese ("Deej") found a loving family and a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, the obstacles to inclusion and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. As an advocate for other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.

In this first-of-its-kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, director Robert Rooy and DJ share editorial control for a story told largely from the inside, by DJ -- not by his parents or autism experts or even the camera. At its core, DEEJ reflects the level of participation that disability rights advocates insist upon: "Nothing about us without us."

The On Screen/In Person Film Series offers a handpicked selection of six independent American films throughout the 17/18 season. The filmmaker(s) will do a Q&A following each screening, providing an in-depth look at the films and their respective topics and issues. View the whole series >>

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On Screen/In Person is made possible by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts' Regional Touring Program.